Iran nuclear dispute takes centre stage at IAEA meet
(dpa) - Iran stressed it was not going to answer questions on intelligence regarding possible attempts to make nuclear weapons and blasted a new UN Security Council resolution for jeopardizing the work of the UN nuclear watchdog.
"Any Security Council resolution is an arrow at the heart of the IAEA," Iran's chief envoy, Ali Asghar Soltanieh told reporters at the outset of the regular March meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which started in Vienna on Monday.
Soltanieh stressed the IAEA's latest report had given Iran "a clean bill of health on all its peaceful nuclear activities," and said allegations of alleged covert weaponization studies - including high explosives testing, uranium conversion and the design of a missile re-entry vehicle - were fabricated.
"We have given our final assessment...all issues regarding alleged weaponization and the work plan are concluded," he said.
His assessment is strongly disputed by western nations. US Ambassador Gregory Schulte said the board would review Iran's file which "remained open."
"Despite some progress in addressing past issues, troubling questions remain about Iranian activities that strongly suggest a clandestine weapons-related programme," he added.
At the week-long meeting several members of the 35-nation board, led by European nations France, Britain and Germany are considering tabling a resolution against Iran.
It would be the first in two years, since the IAEA reported Iran to the Security Council for violating its obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
A final decision on an IAEA resolution, however, depended on the adoption of a third sanctions resolution by the UN Security Council, which diplomats expected for late Monday morning in New York.
Board members are divided on the issue, with members of the Non- Aligned Movement (NAM) stressing Iran's improved cooperation on clarifying its nuclear past, as pointed out by IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei in his report.